It's Time To Stand Up Against Bullying
Thursday, April 07, 2011
So since Saturday, the small community I grew up in has been rocked by two suicides and 1 attempted suicide. The first was an alumni of my school, graduating just one year ahead of me. The second was a 15 year girl in high school that by the looks of it was bullied to a point that she just couldn't handle it. Her death, although I do not know her or her family, has touched my niece and nephew because they are around her age and go to her school. It has sent me through a tailspin.
I grew up a janitor's daughter in a school that is considered the "Edina of WC Minnesota," in a class that was notoriously the cliquiest and nastiest group to step foot through those doors, and coming from this community, well, it says a lot. What's strange about this place, (at least in my class), was that it wasn't just one person doing the bullying. It was one rather large clique that enjoyed making everyone else feel like losers. They were good at it. Where I grew up, the largest class was about 170, so everyone knew you and your business. I'm going to give you just one of many examples of things they would do:
It was my senior year, and of course as seniors we are all supposed to love one another and become closer as we get ready to head off to college...or at least that was expected. I had a choice of graduating early, but decided to just go four hours a day and then work in the afternoons. My first "class" was study hall. I was sitting at my desk doing my work, when this really mean girl came and sat right in front of me. She was popular and elected to God knows what at that point, and had a list of all my classmates with her. She took a black marker and started crossing people off. Then she turned just so I could see what she was doing and crossed my name off the list. I knew what she was doing and boy was I angry. But I let her do it. I didn't confront her, because by this point in my senior year, my confidence had been brought down to non-existent. A couple girls came over to her and paid her 25 bucks for some t-shirt. A couple weeks later, on the same day, all my classmates started showing up with these senior shirts on, except a select few. Those of us that were crossed off the list were wearing our regular clothes. I remember seeing the hurt looks on people's faces. I remember seeing the shocked looks on the teacher's faces when they saw what happened. I also remember the smirks, laughter and whispering of those that chose to leave people out in the first place. Deep down, I was angry and embarrassed.
Now some may think that it wasn't a big deal. But we were made out to know we were the losers. Everyone knew everyone else. So when you walked down the 9, 10, 11, 12th grade hallways, everyone knew that you were left out. Everyone. You knew your place. That was just one example of the many things they did their senior year, and the problems I had been dealing with by the sixth grade. By the end of our senior year, fights were breaking out in class between the haves and have-nots. It wasn't a fun place to be.
Well, this suicide has managed to bring back a lot of bad memories that I have buried deep down. And as I was talking to my dad about it, I felt this uncontrollable urge to eat. Preferably, something bad for me. I had 1 serving of ice cream-no worries it was already allotted in my calorie count-before I realized what I was doing and stopped. After almost 11 years, I am still letting these girls get to me. These are the memories that I put away that are sabotaging me every single time I want to lose weight. I had no idea that I had let them hurt me the way they did. I still have some very hard feelings for a lot of my classmates for the things they pulled over the years. I feel sick when I see them walking in the store, refused to go to my 10 year reunion and pretend we were all friends, won't add most of them to my FB page, and secretly wish, (and yes I know it is wrong) that Karma would catch up with them. It hasn't.
So today, I cried for that poor 15 year old girl and her family and friends because of the pain she was in, and I cry for my own memories and hope that I can finally put it all behind me and move on. It's time. I won't let myself be bullied anymore, whether by people or memories. I end with this quote:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt